SACRAMENTO (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – Nobody thought this would be easy season for the Miami Heat but things have gone from bad to worse lately.
The Heat are being ravaged by injuries and attempt to avoid a seventh consecutive defeat when they visit the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.
Miami dressed just eight players in a 99-90 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday in the opener of a six-game road trip.
Standout center Hassan Whiteside (eye) will miss his third consecutive game and not having the leading rebounder (14.3) and one of the top defensive players in the NBA could be a problem with Sacramento star DeMarcus Cousins on a roll.
Cousins scored 31 points in Tuesday’s 120-113 road victory over the Denver Nuggets and he has topped 20 points in each of his past 10 games and is averaging 30.9 points during the span.
The strong play by Cousins has fueled a stretch in which the Kings have won five of seven games to move into eighth place in the Western Conference.
Miami has lost by double digits just once during the six-game skid but the loss to the Suns dropped the Heat to 5-13 on the road.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Miami), CSN California (Sacramento)
ABOUT THE HEAT (10-26): Point guard Goran Dragic scored 24 points against the Suns after missing three of the previous four games with a back injury but Miami had two unexpected absences in forward James Johnson (food poisoning) and guard Tyler Johnson (migraine).
Shooting guard Dion Waiters (groin) missed his 20th straight game but is close to returning, and forward Justise Winslow (shoulder) missed his third straight game while coach Erik Spoelstra is hopeful Whiteside can return later on the road trip.
“He is getting better,” Spoelstra told reporters. “He’s going to see the doctor (Wednesday) again to see how his eye looks.”
ABOUT THE KINGS (15-19): Point guard Darren Collison posted a season-best 26 points and also had seven assists against Denver and appears to be breaking out of a slump.
Collison is averaging 21 points over the past two contests after averaging only 6.3 on 15-of-47 shooting over a six-game span but his focus is on winning, not scoring.
“Every win on the road is important, especially given the circumstances,” Collison said after the Denver contest. “We’re trying to hold onto the eighth spot and try to move up, so every win from here on out is important.”
- The Heat won the past five meetings, including a 108-96 overtime home victory Nov. 1.
- Miami C Willie Reed was pressed into major duty against the Suns and recorded career bests of 22 points and 18 rebounds.
- Sacramento SF Rudy Gay (hip) is expected to sit out for the 10th time in 11 games while backup PG Ty Lawson (sinus fracture) is questionable.
(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Sports Direct Inc. contributed to this report.)